New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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St Philip's Union Parish Beach Haven Birkdale History

FOREWORD

In John's Gospel Jesus prayed that his disciples "... would be one as I and my Father are one..." and this vision of unity has captured the minds and hearts of Christians throughout the centuries. Often the will has been there but the desire for co-operation has been undermined by uncertainty, and only recently has the appropriate basis for the entrustment of monies and buildings come into being.

History is the recorded events in the lives of people who have paved the way for us today to be living the history of tomorrow... Our immediate past rests in the congregations of Birkenhead, St. Andrews Presbyterian and Zion Hill Methodist Churches. It is to their foresight, hard work, financial and personal support that we owe a debt of gratitude.

The meticulously kept records of Christian work within this Parish tell us that a mixture of people from many denominations have worked together for the good of all. As we gather the threads of.80 years Christian witness here we are conscious of our heritage of faith, stretching back through many cultures and languages to Jesus the Jew, whose life, death and subsequent in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit led to the establishment of the Christian Church. The branches of which we are now a part have been fostered in the vales and hills of Birkdale with its complementary Haven of the Beach.

The one a place of forest, birdlife and bush fragrance with shafts of sunlight piercing the darkness of tall pines. The other, the beach curving to embrace ripples, or water whipped up by strong winds, sparkling and inviting at the full, but requiring careful navigation in the muddy shallows where there is danger of hidden rocks. Both combine to symbolize the lives of people who pioneered the district, their hopes, fears, trials and tribulations, heartaches, joys, and lastly the courage with which they created what we have inherited.

As these two environments harmonise so the stories of the two denominations printed here blend into the one story of the Union Parish, which in the last twelve years has continued its rich ministry of caring, healing and nurturing so that the lives of people may be fulfilled as the Gospel message is proclaimed.

At twelve years we are in the springtime of our existence, not quite integrated in body and spirit and still owing allegiance to two parent churches, but hopefully maturing and already showing the promise of blossoming into a unique and special congregation bringing its own quality to the Good News of the Gospel.

It is with thanksgiving for the past, joy for the present, and hope for the future that we present to you this brief record for your enjoyment.

Shalom, Pat Jacobson, October 1985